Maternal Health by the Numbers: 20 From '20/20'

Statistics on maternal health from the United States and around the world.

ByABC News
December 16, 2011, 1:57 PM

Dec. 17, 2011 — -- Around the world, statistics related to maternal health and mortality are staggering. Below, a look at 20 numbers that are a matter of life and death.

1. A woman dies every 90 seconds during pregnancy or childbirth.

2. That mortality rate amounts to more than 350,000 deaths per year or more than 1,000 a day.

3. Ninety-nine percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

4. One woman in 11 dies in pregnancy or childbirth in Afghanistan.

5. The United States ranks 50th in the world in maternal mortality, with higher death rates than most European countries as well some in Asia and the Middle East, according to the World Health Organization.

6. One-third of all births worldwide are performed without a skilled professional.

7. In 2011, more than 50 million babies were delivered without the aid of a skilled birth attendant.

8. Adding 350,000 midwives overseas could save the lives of as many as 3.6 million mothers and children.

9. A 10 percent increase in skilled health workers corresponds to a 5 percent reduction in maternal deaths.

10. Eighty percent of maternal deaths could be prevented by cost-effective, timely health care before, during and after childbirth, including family planning, skilled attendance at birth, emergency medical services and care in the weeks after birth.

11. One in 7 girls in developing countries is married by the age of 15.

12. Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die while giving birth.

13. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are a significant cause of death among adolescent girls, ages 15-19, resulting in nearly 70,000 deaths each year.

14. About 215 million women who want to control the size of their families don't have access to family planning.

15. Each year, modern contraceptive use prevents 188 million unintended pregnancies.

16. The use of contraceptives helps prevent a projected 150,000 maternal deaths.

17. Fulfilling the unmet need for family planning would reduce maternal mortality by 32 percent.

18. More family planning would also reduce infant mortality by 10 percent.

19. Programs that deliver health messages to women's mobile phones provide specific information about nutrition, prenatal care, immunization schedules and how to treat diarrhea and pneumonia in children. Nearly 25 million moms around the world are already receiving health messages delivered through the Internet and hundreds of thousands of mothers receive this information through their phones.

20. Despite advances such as mobile health messages, only 23 countries are on target to meet Millennium Development Goal 5, to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015.

Sources: Every Mother Counts, Girl Up-United Nations Foundation, Guttmacher Institute, Kaiser Family Foundation, Save the Children, United Nations, White Ribbon Alliance and World Health Organization.

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Watch the full story on the latest episode of "20/20."